Tiger Woods played his first five holes of golf since last August on Monday, partnering with long-time friend Mark O’Meara on the Woods’ designed Bluejack National course right outside Houston, Texas.
It was the course’s official opening, and Woods and O’Meara entertained club members with stories before playing a quintet of holes.
“I’m definitely a little tired but I feel pretty good,” Woods said in an interview afterward. “I haven’t been out here playing like this. I hadn’t played any holes until today. I know people have said I’ve played holes back at Medalist, but I haven’t. This is actually the first time I’ve played holes since Wyndham. It’s been awhile.
The 14-time Major winner has since turned 40 and after his worst-ever year on the PGA Tour underwent a pair of back surgeries in six weeks’ time.
There has been speculation, some from Woods’ himself, that he will never play on the PGA Tour again because of the physical breakdowns of his body.
The Tour itself recently removed Woods’ photo from its players’ index home page, where it had previous sat entrenched for close to two decades.
Buzz circulated late last week when Woods registered for the 2016 US Open, but his agent said it was a “purely procedural” move. Woods said Monday his game will have to get a lot better before he retakes the links on a professional level.
“I’ve got to get stronger and I’ve got to get faster,” Woods said. “I’m not hitting it very far right now. I still have a lot more to go in the tank as far as speed, which is great. I’m able to hit the ball as far as I am right now just cruising. Then trying to work on new drivers [he experimented with two on Monday], too, at the same time. That’s kind of a test.”